Friday, March 11, 2016

Study shows carotid-artery stenting can prevent stroke in patients with no symptoms

R. Gilberto Gonzalez, MD, PhD

R. Gilberto Gonzalez,
MD, PhD

Chief, Neuroradiology
Division

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the number one cause of disability in the US. But some patients may have no symptoms despite serious narrowing of the carotid artery that can eventually decrease blood flow to the brain.

A recent Mass General study published in The New England Journal of Medicine showed that a procedure called carotid-artery stenting is just as safe and effective in preventing stroke in patients with no symptoms as the standard surgical approach. According to Ramon Gilberto Gonzalez, MD, PhD chief of Neuroradiology, "The study shows that in these types of patients there is little difference between stenting and surgery."

Stenting is a minimally invasive, image-guided treatment for the narrowing of arteries. It can restore the flow of blood by inflating a small balloon and using a tube-shaped device to keep the artery open. Dr. Gonzalez adds that many aspects of the procedure make it an attractive option for many patients. "What was not known before was whether it was as effective as surgery. This has now been answered, and the answer appears to be yes."

Learn more about stenting

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